A book cover designer vs an artist: Are the two different?

Selecting a book that’s perfect for you out of the myriads available, can be as grueling a task as it is invigorating. However, this relentless pursuit is sacred for both, the reader and the author as it marks the beginning of their relationship.

But how does one reach the conclusion?

Subconsciously, our first impressions of anything influence most of our decisions. And with regards to this particular situation, the uniqueness of a book cover makes the book stand out. It becomes the mediator of the author-reader relationship and hence a significant factor in influencing decision-making.

Understanding the tone of a book, tailoring the process of design to suit the content that lies inside, and alluring a reader to click on your book from millions on Amazon identify designing a book cover as an art-form in itself.

The Artist and The Book Cover Designer

The book cover, by all means, is responsible for defining a book and compelling its initial readership. An artist hired for this job would naturally be required to work in close proximity to the author. This would be in order to understand the author’s viewpoint and be able to give his own imagination a visual identity that might make a lasting imprint on his work.

While specific processes of every book cover designer might vary, most respect the importance of their relationship with the author in question. Initially, the designer is also amongst the readers. However, he delves into a detailed research of the genre that helps him envisage and lay out his working strategy.

Therefore, the professional understands the perspectives of everyone involved before he deems to design an eye-catching book cover that represents the book as a whole.

How are the two different?

What makes the Book Cover Designer different?

A conventional artist would differ from one specializing in designing book covers because the latter works as an intermediary who recognizes the perspectives of both — the author and his readers. While an artist might channel his creativity and beautifully present a piece of the plot on the cover, the book cover designer creates one that sells.

A cover created by a traditional artist might lack the touch needed to intrigue the audience enough to buy it. This could affect him as much as his client who banks upon the final performance of the book in the market.

Working with the Author

The book cover designer engages in an open discussion with the author and offers the chance at a successful creative partnership by asking for his suggestions and specific demands that he may put forward. An example of this could be an online form required to be filled out by the client, listing his preferences such as this form.

This is one of the many reasons why the professional’s expertise in the field of book cover design becomes noteworthy. Using his existing knowledge of the audience’s expectations from the book cover, the book cover designer is placed in a position where he would think ‘outside the box’ of what’s been done and dusted.  He thus strives to “continually evolve his aesthetic, and not become trapped in trends.”

Understanding the Reader’s Perspective

The book cover designer works to intrigue the reader, to catch their attention and compel them to click on the book to read the blurb(A lot of people buy the books just for their cover). While an artist may not be comfortable sharing his creative space with the other important figures that weave the process, the professional designer works in synchronization with the entire team. He finds his creative liberty in the limitations offered to him and creates something as commercially successful as it would be, artistically.

Why does the book cover designer have an edge?

Merging commerce and art together

When created under the expert supervision of a professional book cover designer, the book cover transforms into an effective marketing tool. It caters to the audience, taking into consideration their interests and expectations and acts as a fascinating visual representation of what lies inside the book.

Famed book cover designer Laura Duffey says in one of her interviews, “It needs to be decided who the market is, and what needs to be conveyed.”

Does the book cover affect sales?

This brings us to the example of hundreds of self-published authors around the globe who’ve been in a position where their book sales have gone from being dismal to double and triple the amount of what they had been before.

A brief look into the reasons for this advancement would explain that in many of these cases, the covers of the said books had received several criticisms from the initial, limited readership, among other reasons. This led to a new, professionally designed cover replacing the old one, and an immediate resultant increase in the book sales.

The professional’s work experience matters

The aforementioned example supports the fact that the experience of a professional book cover designer binds the entire book together and stamps it with a marketing device that represents the author’s perspective without contesting it. He manages to peak the reader’s interest, and convince the latter with his aesthetically designed stamp, all the while making sure that the author doesn’t have to spend more than what he has laid out on the table.

Therefore, the designer – from existing experience and knowledge along with the presented requirements — strives to create an end product that works in favour of all the involved parties. Moreover, he expertly uses the power of visual graphic form to compellingly expand the writer’s reader-base.


All in all, it can be said that the work experience of a professional book cover designer goes hand-in-hand with an artist’s creative vision. The field provides the artist with the necessary ground to further his abilities and to hone his skill. It trains the artist to tune his imagination in a way that the demand of the author and his own creativity can ally gracefully.

However as is with any other profession, expertise comes with professional experience that an established designer offers to his client. A book cover designer understands the tricks of his trade that would allow the writer to benefit, as the latter could place his work in hands he trusts.

Because as repeated that the age-old phrase might be, the world, in fact, judges a book by its cover. And if the cover is able to attract the reader’s attention, there is a slim chance that anything might be able to stop him from buying the book of his choice.

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